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A maillon with the gate open and closed.

A maillon, maillon rapide or quick link is a metal link, similar to a carabiner.[1] Maillons have a threaded sleeve which tightens over a thread, as opposed to a hinged gate like a carabiner, making them stronger, but more difficult to use.[1] Like carabiners, maillons are available in a range of shapes and thicknesses (i.e., strengths), and often offer greater versatility over carabiners as their different shapes and lack of hinged gates allow them to be used in multi-directional load situations.[2]

The word maillon comes from the French language, meaning "link".[3]


Maillons are used primarily in climbing and caving. In caving, they are used to make secure and vital connections such as those required when using single rope technique,[4] or for attaching ropes to anchor points. In climbing, they are used to construct leave-in-place abseil anchors. Maillons can also be used for fastening harnesses with a dual attachment point.


  • The length of the gate opening, and of the maillon itself, can be varied. Suppliers typically have a short and long (symmetrical) oval in their range, as well as other shapes.
  • "D" maillon: the central component of a caving harness or single rope technique kit on which all items of equipment are attached. So called because it is shaped like the letter D.
  • "Delta" maillon: a variation of the D maillon, the delta maillon is triangular in shape, rather than semi-circular.


  1. ^ a b "Ten years in the dark - Glossary".
  2. ^ "Maillon Rapides". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  3. ^ "maillon". Collins Free French Online Dictionary. HarperCollins. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2014-05-05.
  4. ^[permanent dead link]